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DOT Physicals: Do They Include a Drug Test?
4 mins read

If you’re a commercial motor carrier, then you know the drill: at least once every two years you need to have a DOT physical exam to renew your medical card. These exams are conducted by certified medical examiners whose job it is to evaluate you for a wide range of medical conditions – and ensure you’re healthy enough to safely operate a motor vehicle.

In addition to a general physical examination, your DOT physical will include a urinalysis. But unless the examiner requests a second sample be given for a DOT drug test (sometimes requested during the pre-employment process), the urine sample you provide during the exam isn’t used to detect drug use – but to screen for medical conditions such as diabetes instead.  It’s important to note that if your employer does require a pre-employment drug test at the same time, that the examiner will be very clear with you about the testing procedures during your appointment.

Related: Learn What to Expect at Your DOT Physical Here 

What About Medications?

Although a standard drug test isn’t conducted during DOT physicals, the medical examiner will review your current medications with you – including those you take for diabetes, heart disease, neurological conditions, mental health conditions or recent surgeries. Some of these medications may automatically disqualify you from driving a commercial motor vehicle (at least temporarily), though that decision is left up to the medical examiner’s discretion, as well as the advice of your doctor. In these cases, your medical examiner will want to see a note from your doctor that describes your condition, the medications you take and the impact it will have on your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

If the medical examiner deems that the medications you’re on can’t be used while driving a commercial motor vehicle, you may receive a temporary disqualification. Once you’ve been off the medication for a certain period of time, you can then be reevaluated for a medical card. In other cases, you may be granted a medical card, but you’ll need to have another DOT physical exam in the next 6-12 months…instead of the normal two-year timeframe.

Links to Related Articles in This Series:

Links to Related Articles in This Series:

The DOT Physical: Everything You Need to Know 

DOT Physicals: Can Chiropractors and Other Doctors do DOT Physicals?

DOT Physicals: Vision Requirements for the Eye Exam      

DOT Physicals: Can You Pass with a High BMI or While Overweight? 

DOT Physicals: Can I Get a DOT Physical in Any State? 

DOT Physicals: Can You Pass with a Hernia? 

DOT Physicals: Will I Pass with Diabetes? 

DOT Physical Blood Pressure: Requirements & Tips for Passing 

DOT Physicals: Can I Pass With Sleep Apnea? 

DOT Physicals: What if I have a Medical Condition? 

How to Prepare for Your DOT Physical? 

DOT Physicals: What Happens When You Fail? 

Fail a DOT Physical? You Have a Right to a Second Opinion 

DOT Physicals: Understanding Medical Variances 

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